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Writer, editor, activist. Featured at HuffPo and MSNBC.com.  Creator of the original We Are Woman. Married mom. 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Focus on the Art, Ignore the Trauma: The Shame of Children's Theatre School

Image of Children's Theatre from Star Tribune

Last week, a jury found Children's Theatre negligent but not liable for the rape of Laura Stearns by Jason McLean. Laura was a minor, McLean was an adult. Because the sexual assault did not take place on the grounds of Children's Theatre, the jury chose to believe Children's Theatre's defense, which is the same defense they have used for almost forty years: it's not our fault. Here is the statement released by Children's Theatre after the verdict, from MPR:

The jury found that CTC was not negligent in supervising and retaining Jason McLean. The jury also found CTC was not liable because CTC did not directly cause the assault of Laura Stearns by Jason McLean. As a result of this verdict, CTC owes no damages in this case. We accept the jury's verdict and wish Ms. Stearns success in her efforts to collect the jury's award from her abuser.

For those of you unfamiliar with Children's Theatre and their decades of enabling, promoting, and protecting, sexual predators, please allow me a few moments to explain. Children's Theatre Conservatory School, as it was known when I was a student, was run by a convicted pedophile. The board knew he was a pedophile, and they gave him a school. John Clark Donahue continued to abuse, molest, and rape young boys, and with the support of the board, created an environment where it was unsafe to be a student at Children's Theatre.  

There were many adults other than Donahue abusing children. Jason McLean raped a number of young girls, as did sound designer and instructor Stephen Adamczak. Stephen Adamczak tried to rape me in his car, and did rape at least one other girl. But we were taught this-the rape, abuse, trauma, terror-was the price we paid for being chosen to attend Children's Theatre. 

Donahue held "meetings" in the experimental theater on the fourth floor, during which he would sit on a makeshift throne from the prop department. He would surround himself with his favorite students, mostly young boys, and in a mesmerizing voice, tell us Children's Theatre was a womb. It was the only place we would ever be safe. And even though we were children, we would be treated as adults because we were so "special," so gifted, so privileged to be in this extraordinary environment. 

We believed it, we took all of his words to heart, so much so that, when we were raped, abused, molested, and terrorized, we said nothing. Some of us tried to end our own lives (myself included), some of us turned to drugs or alcohol, some of us simply left.

And through it all, Children's Theatre maintained they were not responsible. It wasn't their fault they hired a convicted sexual predator, it wasn't their fault they ignored students who found the courage to tell, it wasn't their fault they ignored parents who came to the board with concerns. The message was clear: Ignore the trauma, focus on the art. That was the message we received on a daily basis. The theater mattered, we did not.

We still don't, at least to Children's Theatre. The institution that allowed children to be raped and abused refuses to take any responsibility for any of their actions. The institution that to this very day enjoys a stellar reputation and attracts tens of thousands of patrons every year. It's not just Children's Theatre, however. When John Clark Donahue was released from a minimum security work farm, he was welcomed back into the Minneapolis theater community with open arms. Jason McLean made millions updating a neighborhood known as Dinkytown, and was written about in an oped that compared survivors of Children's Theatre to ISIS:

So what I would suggest is this: Follow the story, sure, but do not rush to tear down these iconic establishments — these poems to Minneapolis — like some ISIL mob destroying tombs in Palmyra. Visionaries with talent (flawed, tempestuous, rebellious) are not born every day, and their work is not easily replaced.

This is what we have faced for almost forty years. Our trauma doesn't matter, because Children's Theatre creates such magical experiences, Jason McLean is a "visionary," John Clark Donahue is a genius. Focus on all those wonderful things, ignore the pain, the suffering, the terror. Forget that when you stand in the main house of Children's Theatre, turn your back to the stage and look up, you are seeing Donahue's old office, where he raped and molested little boys. Forget that the carpets, the walls, the very foundation of Children's Theatre, are all tainted with the suffering of children.

Focus on the art. Ignore the trauma. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

We can celebrate Christmas again!

My mother loved Christmas, but she was afraid to celebrate it. Our tree was only lit during the day, and I remember Mom wrapping gifts by candlelight, all the curtains drawn, just in case. I asked her once why she did all this, and pulling me into her closet, she whispered "They don't want us to celebrate Christmas." I wanted to know who "they" were; she never told me.

As I got older, I too began celebrating Christmas in secret. Our beautiful tree, laden with ornaments I inherited when Mom passed away, would sparkle only from noon to three. I wrapped gifts in our windowless bathroom. If I caught myself humming a Christmas carol in public, I would stop and glance around, looking for the Christmas Cops™. 

All that changed with the election of Donald Trump. During his campaign, Mr. Trump said many times we would be able to say "Merry Christmas" again. We all knew what he meant: we can celebrate Christmas again! 

No more fear of being thrown in a FEMA camp for wearing a Christmas tree brooch. No more being dragged from our homes in the dead of night because we forgot to unplug the lights on the roof. No more being slapped by retail clerks when we reply to their "Happy Holidays!" with "Merry Christmas!". No more shopping only with cash wearing a fake mustache and a baseball hat. 

We can come out of hiding! We can sing "Jingle Bells" at the tops of our lungs, we can wear Christmas pins and earrings and sweaters and socks! We can drink peppermint cocoa, and eat decorated sugar cookies. We can write letters to Santa, and actually mail them! We can finally celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ!

Thanks to President Donald Trump, Christmas is illegal no more. Malls will be festooned with garlands and lights, instead of the drab, Christmas-less decorations of yesteryear. Christmas music will resound everywhere, instead of the usual secular pop music like Britney Spears and M.C. Hammer. I can keep the Christmas tree lit after the sun goes down! No more wrapping gifts in the bathroom-I can use the kitchen table! And keep the curtains open!

It's a very exciting time to be alive in America. The long, dark nights of celebrating Christmas in secret are over, thanks to Donald Trump. We do not need to be afraid to belt out "White Christmas," or "Baby It's Cold Outside," or "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." Especially "White Christmas." Rumor has it, that's President Trump's favorite Christmas carol!

So, from our family to yours, Merry Christmas! And if you say anything other than that back, I'll shoot you. 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Sean Hannity gives Jim Acosta a lesson in journalistic ethics

Image from NYMag.com

Sean Hannity is besotted with Donald Trump. It is likely that Sean Hannity has a poster of Donald Trump taped to the ceiling over his bed, and he stares at Trump's visage lovingly every night before falling asleep. Hannity probably has a diary, and the pages are covered with little hearts in which Sean writes "President Trump" over and over again.

It is his undying adoration for Trump that often inspires Sean Hannity to say things the rest of us find obtuse, hypocritical, nuttier than squirrel poo, and just plain wrong. Case in point: On Thursday, Sean Hannity decided to give journalist Jim Acosta a lesson in journalistic ethics. 

Wednesday morning, after Democrats regained the House, Donald Trump held a press conference. It began horribly, and went completely off the rails in about fifteen minutes. During this bizarre performance, Trump told a female black reporter (Yamiche Alcindor) her question about nationalism was "racist," told another female black reporter (April Ryan) to sit down, and ordered his executive assistant to assault Jim Acosta. 

Trump hates Jim Acosta. If he could get away with it, Trump would try to have Jim Acosta "disappeared." But we have this pesky thing called the First Amendment, so on Wednesday, Trump did the next best thing. 

Jim Acosta was trying to ask Trump questions about the caravan and the domestic terror attack on Democratic current and former politicians with pipe bombs by a fervent Trump supporter. Well, Trump wasn't having any of that, since the purpose of the press conference was Trump shaming Republicans who lost on Tuesday, and lying about the election results. 

As Jim Acosta kept being a journalist, a woman suddenly sort of crawled over to him, stood up, and attempted to yank the microphone out of his hand. As anyone would, Acosta reacted with surprise, and as the woman kept grabbing the mic, his hand brushed her arm. Or, as conservatives are reporting it, he beat the absolute shit out of her right there in the East Room.

Paul Something Watkins (Watson? Wilson? Whatever?) with Info Whores Wars found video of the remarkable attempted assault of Jim Acosta, doctored the living daylights out of it, published it, Sarah Huckabee Sanders found that doctored video, and retweeted it from her official government Twitter account. Then the White House yanked Jim Acosta's press pass.

Which brings us to Thursday evening and Sean Hannity. Now, it's important to note that Hannity wouldn't know an ethics violation if you wrapped one around a brick and threw it at him (don't do that), but Sean is nothing if not tenacious in his search for Bad Things To Say About People Smarter Than He Is. Sadly, almost everyone is smarter than Hannity, including my dog, mold, a box of hair, and Kid Rock. That last one might be pushing it. 

Please take a moment to watch Hannity, who is not an actual journalist, tell Jim Acosta, who is an actual journalist, all about journalism:

The guy who popped up on a stage next to Donald Trump to campaign for Republicans, and called journalists "fake news," wants to tell Jim Acosta how to be a journalist. Sean Hannity believes if a reporter asks Trump a hard question, or challenges Trump's endless lies, he or she has "*Trump Derangement Syndrome." The guy who said "The Western world is under constant threat from Islamic jihadists, but your first lady, Michelle Obama, is busy making a rap music video about going to college," and supported birtherism, wants to preach about being "unprofessional."

Jim Acosta was punished by a wannabe dictator for being a talented and honest journalist. Acosta, CNN, and other journalists are taking this event very seriously. You know what they're not taking seriously? Sean Hannity.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Donald Trump is a psychopath and so are his supporters

Earlier today, news began breaking of bombs being discovered by the Secret Service and mail sorting facilities. So far, bombs have been sent to President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, John Brennan c/o CNN (Brennan not does work at CNN), Maxine Waters, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Eric Holder, and a building in San Diego that houses the San Diego Union and an office for Kamala Harris. This is after law enforcement discovered a bomb at the home of George Soros.

All these people have something in common. They are described by Donald Trump as stupid, dangerous, enemies, corrupt, and fake. He attacks at least one of these individuals at every rally, and often with extremely incendiary rhetoric. Trump constantly refers to CNN as "fake news," along with other mainstream media. 

Donald Trump is a psychopath, no question. Look at the definition:

Psychopathy is defined as a mental (antisocial) disorder in which an individual manifests amoral and antisocial behavior, shows a lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, expresses extreme egocentricity, and demonstrates a failure to learn from experience and other behaviors associated with the condition. 

Psychopaths have little to no empathy, manipulate the people around them to get what they want, and have no concern for causing pain with their actions. They also will harm others if there is a benefit to themselves. From Knowing Neurons:

Researchers have observed that criminal psychopaths differ in their physiology.  They don’t sweat or blink when they’re startled in the way most people do (Hare, 1971; Patrick, 1994).  Additionally, psychopaths process and respond to emotional images and language differently from other people (Hare et al., 1988; Patrick, 1994).  They also make abnormal moral judgments, such as endorsing harm to a person when the decision is personally profitable or beneficial enough (Koenigs et al., 2012).  All of this has led researchers to believe that psychopaths’ brains are not processing emotions normally.

Donald Trump says things he knows will rile up his base. He lies to them, and they never question it. He stokes their fear, their hatred, and encourages their ignorance. Trump has told his supporters "What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening." Watch:

We are seeing the results of Donald Trump's psychopathy every day. This past Sunday, a man was arrested for groping a female passenger on a Southwest flight. He told police "that the President of the United States says it's ok to grab women by their private parts," according to the complaint. White men have beaten Muslims and Hispanics while shouting Trump's name. Trump supporters are angry and violent, their faces filled with rage.

If you want to see real and unedited psychopaths online, look no further than the comment section of Breitbart. Here are a few posted under an article about today's act of domestic terrorism.

Would not surprise me if Soros was behind all this. Send the first one to his mailbox, then the rest to everyone else. Quite devious. Suspicion not one him, he’s a victim.
Get out and Vote!

I reckon the bombs were sent by the people who funded the Caravan from Central America.
They sent bombs to themselves, to try and stop an investigation into who paid for it.
Investigate the funding of the Caravan now!

You can't make this stuff up. You got the Hildebeast, Holder, Mad Maxine and a sloo of antifa, BLM and the entire demorat party advocating and perpetrating violence gainst Republicans in restaurants, halls of congress, etc. and all the "swamp" and it's ugly MSM can say is, "it's Trump fault!" Go to he!! All you leftie Loons and RINOS like Flake.

I don't condemn it.
Who cares… The dipshits that received said packages, really deserve to be hung anyways.

It is hard to ignore the FF possibility since incidents of such by these guys have been cited, false racism, false rape accusations, etc. proven and with impunity. Total deceit in the generation of the Trump collusion dossier, testified and proven under oath. 2017 Las Vegas mass murder of a generally conservative C&W crowd, may never be solved, but it accomplished a twofer, if ever proven true - fresh fodder for the anti-gun bunch AND 57 less conservative voters.

I blame the media, you buffoons.
for the mobs in the streets
The threats made to Conservative politicians
The shooting of Republican congressmen in Virginia
The attacks on Trump supporters
And on and on.

Fake rape victim
Fake Bombs

Donald Trump is a psychopath, and so are his fans. Trump is pure id, and he is allowed to do and say awful, dishonest, violent, and evil things because the politicians who could stop him are afraid. 

Hopefully, on Tuesday, November 6, this country will vote for representatives who recognize what Donald Trump truly is, and have the courage to stop him.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

We Have A Right To Be Angry

As I write this, Donald Trump is throwing himself an ego-boosting rally in Mississippi. Surrounded by ignoramuses who think he's the greatest president in the history of White America™, Trump is bragging and lying and oozing support for Brett Kavanaugh. Trump is also mocking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

During this rally, Trump attacked and made fun of Dr. Blasey Ford while defending the man she says raped her as a teenager. As his supporters went "wild," Trump spoke as both Dr. Ford, and as someone questioning her:

‘I had one beer. Well do you think it was…Nope. It was one beer. Oh good. How did you get home? ‘I don’t remember.’ How did you get there? ‘I don’t remember.’ Where is the place? ‘I don’t remember.’ How many years ago was it? ‘I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.’
What neighborhood was it in? ‘I don’t know.’ Where’s the house? ‘I don’t know. Upstairs. Downstairs. I don’t know. But I had one beer, that’s the only thing I remember.’
The president of the United States is mocking a survivor of attempted rape. His supporters are cheering and laughing as he does this. It is a statistical fact that some of the women at this rally who are cheering and laughing are survivors of sexual violence. 

An associate professor at Brooklyn College, Mitchell Langbert, wrote the following on his blog September 27:

This misogynistic cretin is comparing spin-the-bottle (which no one has played since the 1950s) to rape. He writes "In the future, having committed sexual assault in high school ought to be a prerequisite for all appointments, judicial and political." Brooklyn College has not publicly denounced Langbert's blog, or made any statement whatsoever.

Earlier today, a Georgetown University professor, Carol Christine Fair, was suspended from Twitter for this tweet:

Twitter reversed their decision, but Professor Fair's account is no longer verified. 

I'm really angry. So angry that I understand what provoked Professor Fair's tweet. Do I agree with it? Well, she's not advocating violence against those entitled white men, she's simply hoping their natural deaths are painful and miserable. She is calling for castrating their corpses, and feeding lifeless penises to swine, which I can really support. She's not stating, as Mitchell Langbert did, that rape should be a prerequisite for judicial and political appointments. Professor Fair is not mocking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, as Donald Trump did during his rally this evening. 

Professor Fair is angry. I'm angry. Survivors I am connected to on social media are angry. We have a right to be angry. We have a right to burn everything to the fucking ground while dripping with the blood of our enemies. We have a right to swear and rant and rave and yes, even write that entitled white male rape apologists deserve miserable deaths.

We have a right to be as angry as we want to be.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

I Am Not Brett Kavanaugh by Guest Writer Bart O'Kavanaugh

Up until last week, my life was fine. I was kind of happily married to my wife, Ashley Assy Ashy Amy?, my two daughters sons, Liaz and Market, were laughing and playing, and I was all set to be the next Supreme Court justice top salesman at Lanny's World of Cars. Then it all blew up because of a book written by my best friend in hig a guy I've never met, Mark Judge.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I was number one in my class at Georgetown Prep St. Ignatius's School for Wayward Boys. I worked my tail off to get into Yale ITT Tech. I love coaching girls' basketball Senior Soccer Saturday at the YMCA. Most importantly, I have never never been accused convicted of any kind of sexual assault.

And, yeah, I like beer. I like beer a lot. But in my defense, beer has wheat in it, so it's actually like bread. Whole wheat bread. Which is good for you. So I drink beer for breakfast, with a spoonful of marmalade. I drink beer for lunch, with a few pieces of honey-roasted turkey, lettuce, Kraft American cheese, and mayo. Dinner is usually whatever Ashley Ashton Ainsley Annie? whips up with a 12-pack of Bud Light Clamato, because I need my vitamins.

When I heard my name being thrown around during that hearing, I was shocked. I mean, that's my yearbook not my yearbook, and Mark was my best friend in is someone I've never met, and boofing is a totally awesome way to get black-out drunk is disgusting and I had to look it up online to find out what it even was.

None of this is my fault. As a white, rich, privileged Christian man normal, middle class, unassuming day drinker typical American man, I've been dragged into some sort of cesspool of innuendo, false allegations, and defamatory statements. My character has been attacked. Hell, I feel raped, and I'm not even in prison yet

Here's a neat fact: I'm drunk right now. Hell, yes I am, wouldn't you be? The Jesuits have abandoned me, the ABA, Yale Law, shit even my own WIFE no, I mean if your name was mudslinged slingedmud sling bladed wow I gotta piss.


Brett Kavanaugh Bart O'Kavanaugh

PS: That Brett is a good-lookin' guy, just saying.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Let the Rape Apology Shit Show Begin

Donald Trump, according to sources, has been chomping at the bit to go after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. A White House official told Axios "Hopefully he can keep it together until Monday. That’s only, like, another 48 hours right?"

It's Friday, and the shit show has begun. Trump didn't "keep it together until Monday." He used his tiny hands to type truly offensive rape apologist and victim blaming comments on Twitter. 

Let's address this one first. The FBI doesn't get involved with sexual assault cases unless the crime(s) meet federal statutes. Why doesn't the president know this? Because he's a moron, and because he's been accused by 19 women of various acts of sexual harassment and violence, and because he's a misogynistic jagoff who wants his anti-choice judge on the Supreme Court so the evangelicals who are threatening not to vote in November will calm down.

This tweet was posted prior to the FBI dreck, at 6:14 AM. Odds are, there was no one in the bathroom with Trump, and thus, he was free to type whatever he wanted. And what he wanted was to blame the victim and her family.

Trump is not the only right-winger using social media to attack Dr. Ford. Conservatives are accusing her of lying, being a slut, asking why she went to a party in her bathing suit, and stating that she can't be believed since she waited so long to go public. Because when women report a rape right after it happens, we're trying to ruin a man's life, and if we wait, we're lying whores.

On the kinder side of Twitter, women and men have shared their truths, shared their experiences, and shared their deeply personal stories over the past week. Powerful, courageous, brave women and men, some of whom were talking about their sexual assaults for the first time. Those amazing women and men have been met with support, love, trust, and empathy.

I believe Dr. Ford because I waited 37 years to break my silence. 

If the past week has triggered emotions, anxiety, or you just need to talk to someone who understands, please contact RAINN.

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Focus on the Art, Ignore the Trauma: The Shame of Children's Theatre School

Image of Children's Theatre from Star Tribune Last week, a jury found Children's Theatre negligent but not liable for the rape...